International exchange at the Faculty of Letters
We live in an era of internationalization, and one of the most important academic goals of the Faculty of Letters is fostering students so that they can respond flexibly and adequately to this trend, and training students to understand the importance of promoting beneficial and meaningful international exchange. To this end, students gain knowledge of different cultures not only in the classroom, but also through studying abroad at universities overseas and experiencing what it is like to live as a foreigner. Gaining a variety of experiences while living in the midst of a different culture is a highly valuable process for our students that will change both their ways of thinking and their actions, making them mentally stronger.
The Faculty of Letters has created a support system for this purpose. In addition to sending students to the universities that have a direct exchange agreement with us (University of Bonn - Germany, Hangzhou Normal University - China, and Chang Jung Christian University - Taiwan), we have also formed exchange agreements with the University of Montana (United States), the University of Newcastle (Australia), and Pole University of Bordeaux (France) (see Appendix). We have a faculty advisor for each university we have partnered with to offer guidance to students. The Faculty of Letters also offers workshops and other forms of guidance for students before they study abroad, where they can learn more about the experience and get help with the paperwork and preparation so that they have a clear image of the experience they are about to take on. Thanks to the agreements we have formed with these universities, students can apply the credits they receive while abroad to their degree at Kumamoto University. This allows them to spend a year studying abroad without having to postpone their graduation. Generally, students are responsible for their travel costs and living expenses; they do not, however, need to pay any tuition to the foreign university. They need only pay their regular tuition to Kumamoto University. Students generally stay in a dormitory for exchange students. Lodging, meals, and other living expenses vary according to the location, but they are typically around 70,000 - 80,000 yen per month.
In addition, Kumamoto University offers international scholarships, which the Faculty of Letters uses to support 4 students financially for international academic exchange and research. Recruitment usually takes place in June. We also hold short-term language seminars during the summer in Australia, Canada, Germany, China, and Korea.
Furthermore, around 50 students from Asia, Europe, and the United States enroll in the Faculty of Letters as exchange students every year, giving our students the opportunity to take classes and participate in culture exchange activities with foreign students. We hope they will form friendships that go beyond nationality and ethnicity. For our students, the Kumamoto University campus is a place where international exchange occurs on an everyday basis. The Faculty of Letters provides both support and opportunities for international exchange activities while respecting everyone's individual motivations and autonomy.